A Hampshire building firm has been heavily fined after an employee sustained serious injuries in a fall from an office work in the course of employment.
The worker, who worked for Cannon Technologies Limited, was standing on the internal area over the office which the company used as an improvised storage room when the accident occurred on 9 July 2012. He had accessed the storage area and was passing down flat-packed boxes when his foot got tangled in a coil of wires in the internal storage area and he fell over six feet to the floor below. This resulted in the worker sustaining a fractured arm and a broken toe. His toe has now fully healed but his forearm will still not fully straighten. The worker has returned to work since the accident.
The accident was reported – as required by RIDDOR – and an investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive. This investigation found that the company had failed to provide any “edge protection” around the office roof and had failed to provide a better means of accessing and exiting the area. A prosecution was therefore recommended against the company.
The case came before the West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court on 17 September 2013. The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,740.
An HSE inspector, Mr Rob Hassell, stated after the hearing: “Falling from height remains one of the common causes of deaths and injury and employers must ensure they identify what safety precautions they need to take and then implement them. This was a preventable incident and an avoidable injury if only the company had employed good sense and opened their eyes to the obvious risks”
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Statistics show that 40 workers were killed and almost 3,500 were injured in 2011/12 in falls from height. Employers must comply with health and safety legislation – such as the Work at Height Regulations 2005 – in order to reduce the risk to their workers and the potential to be prosecuted for breach of this legislation or sued for personal injury by injured employees.”
It is not currently known as to whether the worker has or will claim personal injury against his former employer
Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors in Hammersmith